Millennials: The truly lost generation!
We, as human beings, are obsessed with naming things. We name people, we name places, we name places we never visit, we name planets far, far away that we have no way to travel to, we name continents that are buried under the current continents, we name continents before they became continents, we name cities that are lost and the list just goes on. Remember when there were dinosaurs? We have a name for that age. Remember those people who inhabited India? Well, we have a name for them too. Remember the time when nothing happened and none of this existed? Well, guess what? We have a name for that too! And you seriously thought we wouldn't name our generations?
The first generation to be named is called (drumrolls) 'The Lost Generation'. A downer to be honest. This is the generation that came of age during World War I and is aptly named lost because they were lost. What was the generation before that named you ask? Well, nothing. Before that, the world was just a bunch of people doing whatever they wanted before world war one. The biggest example is England thinking it could take over a country like India and use them. Our world, in its current form, started with the 'Lost' generation.
They were followed by 'The Greatest Generation' (1901-1927 born) and don't let the name fool you, they were called that because they lived through the great depression and went on to fight in World War II. Greatness was followed by silence as the next generation is the 'Silent Generation' (1928-1945 born) because honestly, what are you going to say when there's a war going on? Maybe some of them said something but we couldn't hear them over the bombs and machine guns.
After the silence came the 'Baby Boomers' (1946-1964 born). They are the boomers because they came right after the war (full marks for timing) and grew up in a world that had post-war guilt, which translated to them having all the facilities and witnessing the dawn of technology. 'Generation X' (1965-1980) followed the Boomers and this is the craziest generation yet. From producing great music to creating the hippie moment and a huge drug epidemic, this generation tried to envision technology on drugs rather than creating it.
Following this crazy generation is the most abused term in history, the 'Millennials' (1981 to 1996 born). That's right, the 1980s are all millennials and 1997 borns, you missed the bus. Deal with it. In the age of information technology, it is the millennials that truly deserve the title of the 'Lost Generation'.
To give you context, when most millennials were born, radio was still a thing. And when most millennials turned 25, the world is using virtual reality and watches that can calculate your heart rate. And through this transition, the millennials saw the boom, rise, dominance and fall of television. No wonder some of them still have 'lame flowers' as their profile picture on Facebook because when they were born, people were actually looking at flowers to pass time.
Every generation has seen their fair bit of trouble, but none have had it as bad as the millennials. I know there have been wars, but no generation has been attacked like this one. A quick browse through the news sections will tell you that everything that is wrong with the world is because of millennials. The millennial-blaming has gone so far that people who are part of this generation hate to be called one. Edward Snowden, in his book 'Permanent Record', goes on to say, "The intelligence community… didn't for a moment, hesitate to call me a Chinese double agent, a Russian triple agent, and worse: 'a millennial'." Thanks to the media bashing, this is a generation that now believes being called a Russian spy is better than being called a millennial.
The stereotype given to this generation is of being 'self-obsessed, lazy, disloyal and title hungry'. All of them, true. But there's no generation that wasn't. It's just that the millennials were the first ones to be open about it.
"I think it has a lot to do with social media. The world was a different place when we came in and then all this technology started flowing in. Neither the makers nor the users had any idea what such an explosion of technology would do the mindset of people and we used it anyway. It was like the millennials are the lab rats of technology," believes Spandana C, sales manager at a leading food-delivery app and a millennial.
"For the first time, there was a platform where people could speak to each other, get to know each other and travel the world from their chair. But no one really wants to talk about how unregulated this was," she adds.
The facts check out too. It was not until recently that people started studying the effect of the information surge on people. Now the argument to make here is Generation Z is dealing with the same thing too and yet they were never pulled into the blame game of hatred. That's probably because when they were born, technology was the norm, the same cannot be said about their predecessors.
Comedian Bill Burr, in one of his interviews, breaks down some of the effects of an information surge. He says, "If you believed in something weird before, it was your belief and you kept it to yourself. However, since the onset of the internet, you can post it online and get connected with similar people who believe in the same thing and now you are part of a community that has a weird belief and a voice."
"I think millennials have become the scapegoat of society. We never started a war. We didn't say it was good to use fossil fuel, we didn't invent the system. We were born in a system that needed us to excel by going to work and having a good job and honestly, we were doing that till the next generation came in and started calling us idiots for wearing a suit and turning up to work for doing a good job. And you know what the worst part is? The generation before us calls us an idiot too!" laments Shadab Aziz, a radio jockey and a millennial.
Studies have also shown that this generation is most prone to being suicidal thanks to a two-sided pressure system. The term 'millennial' now has been used in a negative context for so long that has now become an abuse. "Gen Z, as good as they are with their technology and social media understanding will struggle to cope if they were told that every technology, they have now is irrelevant and they have to do something new, every three years," Shadab adds.
As easy as millennial bashing is, there needs to be an understanding that this generation, for all its flaws, had to deal with a new world every couple of years. Imagine purchasing a 'pager' believing this is the newest technology that is going to revolutionise the world only to find out it is being dumped because cell phones arrive two years later. Now imagine this happening over and over again till you go 'I can't care enough'. Well, that's the millennial story. And somehow, they are the ones getting bashed over the drug-addicted, AIDS-creating, anarchy causing Generation X!